Last week, I read a post on The Bloggess that took me by surprise. While I thought that something was a little…off about her, I was dumbfounded to learn that not only does she suffer from depression but she engages in self-harm. I mean, this is a woman with an incredibly popular blog, a book deal, and was recently named Person of the Day by The Huffington Post. Never would I have guessed what she revealed. But it got me thinking that maybe I should reveal something about me. After all, if she can share that, I can share this:
I can’t have more children.
I can’t have more children not because I don’t want any but because I physically cannot. It even has a name–secondary infertility. I have been to numerous doctors and no one can figure out what’s wrong with me or why I have this. I had planned on having surgery to literally explore further but other circumstances have prevented that from happening. Not being able to have any more children because of something completely out of my control is extremely frustrating, disheartening and depressing.
I still haven’t fully accepted the fact that I’ll never have more kids. While right now, due to my marital circumstances, I’m not trying to have more kids, I still tell myself that if I ever do start trying again, I might be successful. I tell myself all kinds of lies that I won’t bother you with. But when it all comes down to it, I know that it’s not true.
I’ve spent many hours rationalizing with myself, discussing the benefits of having only one child. It’s funny how we rationalize with ourselves to accept something we don’t want to accept. What do I tell myself? A sampling:
- I will never again have to buy diapers or formula. Please note that this is not intended to open up a discussion about breastfeeding and cloth diapering versus diapers and formula. Either way you choose to go (and it is a personal choice), there is a cost associated with it. I am done with that cost.
- No more daycare. My daughter starts kindergarten in the fall and if all goes well, I will no longer be working full-time. That means no more daycare. I am over the moon excited to be keeping that money in my pocket.
- No more teething, potty training, midnight feedings, diaper bags, strollers or anything else that gave me endless sleepless nights or made it so I could not get out of my house in under 7 hours.
- Music lessons, sports, activities, hobbies, summer camp. I will only have to fork over money for one child to attend or participate in these. As an ancillary side effect, I will only have to attend concerts, games, etc for only one child. No jealousy between siblings, no splitting my time.
- School expenses. Although the plan is for my daughter to go to public school or a charter school, there are still expenses that go along with it. Supplies, uniforms, class trips, book fairs, text books, bake sales…even free education isn’t free. I will only have to support one child’s K-12 education.
- One college education, one wedding. I have one child. I will only have to pay these expenses for one child. Given that these are huge expenses, I am glad to only have to pay for one.
Before everything in my marriage blew up, we had discussed the feasibility of all the other options: in vitro, artificial insemination, adoption. For every pro there were 18 cons. And now with my husband changing jobs, we’re not even sure what insurance would cover. Adoption isn’t 100% off the table but it might be cost prohibitive. Which leaves me in a place I never wanted–a mom with only one child.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m ungrateful for the child that I do have. I know how blessed and lucky I am to have a healthy, smart, wonderful child when there are so many moms and dads out there struggling with the kid (or kids) they do have or simply can’t have any. But I always imagined my life as a mom to more than one child. When I’m out in public and I see a mom with 2 or 3 or 4 kids, I get a little angry and can’t help but think “why does she get to have 4 kids? Why not me?” When I find out someone is pregnant, I can’t control the pangs of jealousy. I believe that if having one child were my choice and not a choice forced upon me, I’d feel differently.
But for now, I just have to accept the fact that I have secondary infertility. I suppose it could be worse.